Memorial Day Holiday Weekend Kicks Off 2013 Boating Season

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Memorial Day holiday weekend is regarded as the unofficial start to the summer boating season and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency wants to emphasize the use of life jackets while boating in a safe and responsible manner.

Annually, the Memorial Day weekend is one of the year’s busiest boating weekends. Last year over the holiday weekend, there were no boating fatalities for the second consecutive year. There were six reported accidents, two of which resulted in injuries.

TWRA officers made 22 boating under the influence (BUI) arrests over the weekend, an increase of nine from 2011. Officers also issued 12 reckless/negligent operation citations.

In 2013, there have been nine boating-related fatalities in Tennessee. There were seven fatalities at this time last year.

Along with the use of life jackets, TWRA wants to stress the responsible use of alcohol while boating. It is important to consider the effects of drinking and driving whether on water or land. In a boat on the water, the effects of alcohol increase because of external stressors such as engine vibration, wave motion and glare from the sun. Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in Tennessee.

For many Tennesseans, the Memorial Day weekend will be the first time to have the boat on the water this year.

TWRA officials say taking a few minutes to check some of the boat components may be the key to having a nice, safe day. Merely performing a simple maintenance check before getting on the water may prevent problems. Check hoses to make sure they are in good shape. Check spark plugs and be sure to use UL marine grade plugs.  Make sure the lights work and carry extra fuses and bulbs.

In addition, TWRA urges all boaters to remember the basics:

*have a wearable life jacket for every person onboard

*if your boat is 16 feet or longer, there must be a Type IV throwable device onboard

*have onboard a fire extinguisher if you have enclosed fuel compartments or cabins

*anyone under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket at all times while the boat is underway – drifting is considered underway

*any boat operator born after Jan. 1, 1989 must have onboard the TWRA-issued wallet Boating Safety Education Certificate

*keep alcohol to a minimum–choose a designated boat operator

*make sure there is a current boat registration

Boat Operation Basics:

*keep a proper lookout at all times

*maintain a safe speed

*practice good seasmanship

*cut the engine while boarding from the water or entering the water from the boat

*be aware of the carbon monoxide hazards that exist and keep fresh air flowing

*no wake means idle speed

*take a boating safety course – log on to www.tnwildlife.org for information.


Biologists Continue To Study Southern Strain Brook Trout

When picturing something beautiful from nature, most wouldn’t call up the image of a brook trout, simply because of lack of familiarity with this fish. Thankfully, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) biologists do.  As a matter of fact, not only do they think this fish is pretty, they’re willing to hike for miles into rough backcountry, carrying heavy loads to ensure ... (click for more)

Alexander: Tennessee Receives $10 Million For Foothills Parkway To Improve Access To The Smokies

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said that a $10 million federal transportation grant he supported will help complete a 16-mile section of the Foothills Parkway in Blount and Sevier counties, improving access to the federally owned and operated Great Smoky Mountains National Park and “enhancing tourism and economic development” in East Tennessee. “I grew up hiking, ... (click for more)

Morning Fire Destroys Vacant Valleybrook House; 2 Firefighters Suffer Burns

Fire destroyed a vacant house in the Valleybrook Community early Thursday morning. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at 5:35 a.m. and responded to a reported fire at the Valleybrook Golf and Country Club off Hixson Pike. When the first firefighters from Station 19 arrived on the scene, they could not find the fire. Lt. Scott Sheets with Quint 19 said that ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Whiskey Company To Construct Large Distillery At Former Site Of Newton Chevrolet

The Chattanooga Whiskey Company has begun construction on a larger production distillery in the former Newton Chevrolet property at the corner of MLK Boulevard and Riverfront Parkway near the Tennessee River. Once fully operational, the Riverfront Parkway facility will be capable of producing upwards of 14 (53-gallon) barrels per day, making it one of the largest craft bourbon ... (click for more)

Judge Steelman Was Unfairly Criticized In Handling Of School Bus Driver Rape Case - And Response

We are blessed to have freedom of speech in our society, but I am always amazed at the number of folks who voice such strong antagonistic opinions about things without any apparent first-hand knowledge.   As any who wish to criticize the system should know, people get arrested and charged for criminal offenses every day.  The ultimate charge and penalty which results ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Vote For Rhonda Thurman

After studying the Hamilton County School Board quite harshly during the last seven most-tumultuous months in its history, it is only proper that I share my belief that Rhonda is its Most Valuable Player. Four of the school board’s nine members are up for re-election, with Rhonda facing capable opponents in Jason Moses and Dr. Patti Skates in District 1, but let’s never forget that ... (click for more)